Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Awwal 1424 H
July 2003
Volume 16-07 No : 199

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Matter of Fact


Whose Land is it Anyway?
Ibrahim and the Hay-Cart

Whose Land is it Anyway?

This being an age of transparency,
can the Wakf Board come out with the number of properties surveyed as on date?

By Noor Mohmed

As per the Wakf Act 1995, statutory survey has to be conducted once in 20 years, and the purpose of the survey is to update wakf records (RTC), know the exact boundaries of property, remove the discrepancies if any of earlier survey and bring on record the left out properties of the earlier survey, and finally mark the encroachment made. The survey which was long over due, was announced

by Justice Shamim Ahmed, Chairman of the National Minorities Commission on a visit to Karnataka, the need for such survey was felt as there were many complaints about misuse of wakf properties and only on insistence of Justice Shamim, the Karnataka Government sanctioned Rs 100 lakhs for the survey.

Rs 100 lakhs has greater value, much more than its face value, as the survey which is supposed to be conducted once in 20 years, may not be conducted and the consequences, ill effects, negligence, encroachments which have escaped notice, the RTCs which have not been updated, will be put on hold and this will damage the whole effort.

The survey which has been discussed by Prof. Basheer Hussain, Justice Syed Nissar Ahmed in their respective enquiry commissions and later Rahman Khan and Sikandar Bhakt and JPC enquiry committees, have all felt the need for updating the revenue records, removal of encroachments and finally it came about only recently. But all this will go down the drain.

The Wakf Act 1995, stipulates as per section (4) the appointment of survey commissioner who has the same powers as vested in the civil court under the code of civil procedure for enquiry. Section (4) (5) & (6) of Wakf Act 1995, deal with Wakf survey. Section (4) deals with appointment of survey commissioner, Section (5) deals with procedures of publication of Wakf by the Wakf board, after examination. The Wakf Board has not looked into the past. I wonder if each of the entries will be checked by the Wakf Board before publication.

Section (6) deals with disputes regarding Wakfs, this is a very important section which has wider implications. Here- whether a particular property belongs to a Sunni or Shia is to be declared. Any person interested there-in may institute a suit in tribunal within one year, whose decision in this regard will be final. It is common knowledge that for any action to be upheld in judicial courts, a notice must be served. This survey which relates to Wakfs should also observe the principle of natural justice, Allah will certainly not want any property which is not dedicated to Him. Section (6), Page 5 of Wakf Act reads: "For the purpose of this section the expression "any person interested their-in shall, in relation to any property specified as Wakf property in the list of Wakfs published after the commencement of this act" shall include also every person, who though not interested in the Wakf concerned, is interested in such property and to whom a reasonable opportunity has been afforded to represent his case by notice served on him in that behalf during the course of relevant enquiry under Section (4) & (6)".

I have personally enquired the procedure being followed at Mysore and Coorg, the surveyors along with an official of the Wakf Board suddenly descend on the property without notice being issued even to the Mutavalli. They conduct the survey and go away. And to make matter worse, in Coorg, they have left out all the previous Wakf properties which have a number of discrepancies and plenty of encroachments untouched. In all these they have not issued notice as required and so the purpose of survey will be nullified, encroachers of property will continue enjoying and for the next 20 years the records will not get updated and so the 100 lakhs which is public money is being pushed down the drain by Karnataka Board of Wakfs and the designated survey commissioner. This being an age of transparency, can the survey commissioner refute my allegation? Can he come out with figures of the number of properties surveyed as on date and if notice has been issued to interested persons as defined in the act? I would be too happy to be disproved.

This is not all. They have deliberately left out many properties which should have been surveyed for the Wakf Act directs that all Wakf properties at the commencement of the Act should be surveyed including those that have been left out in the previous survey.

The Wakf Board and survey commissioner have already undergone the exercise of requirement of "notice" that is to be served on "interested persons". In the case of the Karnataka Wakf Board vs State of Karnataka ILR 1995 (3) KAR 2560 (DB), it was held: "Holding of enquiry necessarily implies issuing of notice to all the parties interested." "The enquiry contemplated under Section 4(3) of the Act is a full fledged enquiry. In the absence of any evidence as to the holding of a proper enquiry, it has to be held that there is no enquiry at all under Section 4 (3) of the Act in the eye of Law and consequently the list published without such enquiry is illegal”.

The writer can be reached at
(noormohmed@islamicvoice.com)

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SRIRANGAPATNA DIARY

Ibrahim and the Hay-Cart

By Nigar Ataulla

In the sleepy town of Srirangapatna, away from the din and dust of the traffic, even the sun takes its own sweet time to set leisurely! As the azaan for the Maghrib echoes from the Masjid at the Gumbaz of Hazrath Tipu Sultan, the small population of Muslims in the town arrive to offer their prayers to Almighty Allah. Prayers over, it’s a quiet cup of hot chai at the roadside stall and each one sets off home to get refreshed for the next day’s toil.

The road from the Gumbaz is long and winding and at dusk its completely deserted. But for 10 year-old Ibrahim, this road is the road to hope-the road he takes everyday to walk to work. Ibrahim works at a key making shop in this town. He leaves home at 8 am and is up and working hard till maghrib time. How much does he get for this? “ They pay me Rs 10,” he says without an air of regret. Ibrahim takes the money home and hands it over to his widowed mother who takes care of a small shop left as the only heritage by her late husband. Then Ibrahim has an elder brother who works as a mechanic at the scooter shop.

School? That’s a far dream for Ibrahim-his mother was forced to pull him out of school as Ibrahim had to earn for the family. He does not say a word about his desire to go to school. He goes home, watches a little television-of course Doordarshan and not those 90 channels like the better-offs in the city. Then he has little dinner and is off to sleep early as he has to be up with the birds and has to rush to work. For Ibrahim, any vehicle will take him home-be it the bullock cart or a hay-cart-He hitches one each day. When he spots a hay-cart along the road, he runs as fast as he can, to catch up with it. The hay-cart is his hope which will take him to his home where his mom will warm up some rice and dal as dinner.

Ibrahim -a school drop-out-he is just one but there are thousands of little Ibrahims in the Muslim community who toil like this for their bread and butter-They cannot afford the luxury of a posh school, a hygienic home or good nutrition.

No doubt the community has been doing work to uplift the poor, but there is a long way to go yet. We need to go into the grass roots and reach out to the poorest of the poor. Our apathetic attitude will only increase the number of Ibrahims who will run after the hay-cart rather than running to school!

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